Now is the Best

Although yesterday’s birthday post was brief, that was due more to the fact that it was past 11 (my bedtime) than to the number of things I had to say.  I’ve actually been thinking a ton about my small boy.

All my life, I’ve wanted babies.  Babies, babies, babies.  The kind that stay cuddled up in your arms, eat nothing but milk, and make small, precious noises.  I wanted to be pregnant, feel the baby kick, wash tiny baby clothes, knit tiny baby sweaters, and have an unstoppable urge to wrap things like burritos.  So when I got pregnant, I was thrilled.  It was a pretty simple pregnancy, and I enjoyed the HECK out of it.  I still miss it.

And when Theo was born, of course I loved him to bits.  I did the whole staring at him in disbelief, taking naps with him snuggled on my chest, the sleepless nights, and all things newborn.  But if I’m being 100% honest, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would.  I’m pretty sure that a lot of that was due to hormones and sleep deprivation (it’s hard to enjoy much of anything when you can hardly stay awake during it).  But as Theo got older, it started getting better.  Each new phase seems better than the last–he’s doing more things, with purpose, being more of a small person, and I LOVE watching it.  I love it in a way that I can’t remember loving his tiny-ness (although, let’s face it, he was never that tiny…) or the newborn fog.  We got him a ring-stacking toy for his birthday, and although he’s not very good at it, he is so absolutely determined and patient.  I actually get a real thrill watching him, hoping, cheering him on.

I love the way he’ll set any sock he finds on the nearest available foot, and he somehow learned where his head is, though we never taught him.  He stubbornly refuses to learn Mama and Papa (which we tirelessly try to teach him).  I can see things happening in that little-boy head, and it’s breath-taking.

I used to be really disappointed that I wasn’t enjoying being a mom as much as I always imagined I would.  And I didn’t–at first.  But now, I’m accepting the fact that yes, I enjoy the small boy things more than I enjoyed the baby things, and while it’s not what I expected, it’s absolutely fine.

It’s almost like how I always thought I’d like strong cheese–and be sophisticated and all that.  And now that I’ve tried it–many times, in many different forms, I hate it.  And it’s a bit disappointing, not liking something that I thought I’d really like.  However, I’ve discovered that I do really like strong mustard and green olives, which I previously didn’t think I’d like.  That kind of cushions the blow, and reminds me that  for every thing that I don’t love, there’s something I do.

As much as I was disappointed over the fact that I didn’t enjoy every minute of the newborn phase–nor am I likely to next time, I’m reassured, realizing that this early-toddler phase–a point where I assumed I’d mourn his babiness, his dependency, and other things I’d never get back–is really awesome.  My days are happier, faster, and chock full of laughter (from both of us).  I’m happier, I feel like I’m a better mom than I’ve ever felt before, and I’m kept on my toes–never knowing when he’ll completely blow my mind next.  Now is the best.

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Theodore James Turns One

Today, my boy is one.  My boy is one year old!

His personality is coming in with his fine blond hairs.  His grin is getting more mischievous, his giggles more frequent.  He’s running faster, squealing more loudly, and climbing into and onto everything–step stools, toy boxes, clothes baskets, wagons, his stroller….  Today, he was able to reach the handles to the kitchen cupboards (oh joy.) while yesterday, he wasn’t.

But he’s still only one.  He’s not a teenager yet, and that means he’s getting up at seven tomorrow, so this will be brief.  A look back in time:

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One month

One month

Two months

Two months

 

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Three months

Four months

Four months

Five months

Five months

Six months

Six months

Seven months

Seven months

Eight months

Eight months

Nine months

Nine months

Ten months

Ten months

Eleven months

Eleven months

Twelve months

Twelve months

He’s one, and I was wrong–I am getting teary.  But not in the bittersweet sort of way.  Just in the “I’m so happy it’s his birthday” kind of way.  And also, this sounds ridiculous, but somehow, he seems just a little bit more of a real person, now that he’s had a birthday.  He’s opened presents (surprisingly reluctantly) and been sung to (and been appropriately bashful about it) and eaten cake.  Boy, did he eat cake.

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Conked on the Head with Motherhood

Like I mentioned in my last post, Theo is very nearly one.  His birthday is on Wednesday, and though we’re not doing much (as in having a big party) we’re doing traditional birthday things.  I’ll make (what  think is) his favorite dinner, we’ve wrapped a few presents for him, one of which he can open in the morning, and the others which will wait until evening.  And I’ll make him a cake, and he’ll blow (or slobber) out a candle.

Now, I’m not having a breakdown about my baby turning one.  It’s been a year–so it’s about time, right?!  He’s growing up, and it’s not nearly so bittersweet as I hear other people say it is.  I love seeing him start to do things so purposefully–open and close containers, stack plastic donuts, take things out of drawers, and put different things in.

But one thing did bring a few tears to my eyes.  When I thought about what kind of cake to make, I realized that this was the first (out of many) cakes I would be making for my son.  I’m not just someone making a cake for someone else’s birthday, I’m the mom making the cake.  I’ll make his cakes every year until he’s too far away.

I’m Theo’s mom every day.  I change the diapers, and the clothes, make the food, clean the messes and generally run around after him.  But what’s so special about this cake is that I’m going to keep doing it, as long as I’m his mom.  Hopefully, the diapers will disappear, and he’ll be able to spread his own peanut butter and jelly, but I’ll always make his cake.

I Survived!

Well, it’s two days later, and I survived! I feel like I’ve come out of the tunnel, and today, when I woke up and realized that Andreas was lying beside me, and I was going to have a day at home with no one but family, I was thrilled. I am 100% enjoying my “rest day” before another busy (but not quite so stressful) week. The sky is dark gray, and it’s chilly (I’m wearing a turtleneck in August, for goodness’ sake) but it’s really cozy and I’m just happy to be in my home with my family and have some time to recharge in my comfort zone.

I think as a college student, I totally underestimated the power of a “recharge.” I don’t think I’d gotten to know myself well enough to know that I really need some time away from things, happenings, stress, and people. But now that I do, and I can schedule it in, it helps immensely. I still get really stressed, especially when things are scheduled such that I don’t get my time to recharge, but if I know I’ll have it eventually, it give me something to look forward to, and I always know that afterwards, I will feel ready for action again. That no matter how worn down I get, at least I know what I need and what I can do to feel okay again.

So I know that after today, I will feel okay again. And ready to go to the dentist, the indoor playground, have Theo’s birthday, get Theo his shots, and have a couple of evenings alone while Andreas has a meeting and a party. And after all that, we’ll have another rest day, and I’ll be ready for whatever the next week holds.

I am an Old Person

Today, I am sat here blinking at my screen, not sure anymore of what I was about to write in this space.

They changed the layout of the New Post Writing Page, and since I am a rut-loving, routine-rejoicer, I do not like it. I’ll get used to it probably eventually, and since I don’t really use any fancy “features” it’s not like I can’t find things.

**The Next Day**

So I had to end last night and save as a draft, because Andreas was heading to bed, and I wanted to go, too.  So today, I opened the draft, and it opened in the old style post-writing page, hooray!  And to be completely honest, yes, I’m probably going to start every post, save it as a draft, and then open it again to finish it in the post-writing style that I’ve gotten used to.

At this point, I’m at a complete loss as to what I was originally going to post about.  There’s a lot of things I could post about–we recently went to the zoo, a party for my baby nephew, started packing for the new place, had a babysitting adventure, etc.  But for today, I’m going to stand by my trusty old General Update because I’m much too frazzled and stressed out to do anything else.

August is tough.  And today, we’ve almost reached the halfway point, and I’m really grateful for that.  I have a list in my head of all the things that have to be done/attended in August, and I’ve already checked off many of them, but today and tomorrow are the most stressful of it all.  I have a couple of meetings (this evening, and all day tomorrow) that I’m just incredibly nervous about for a variety of reasons that are too manifold to fit into this blog post.

These two days feel like a huge mountain the middle of August.  At this point, I’m really anxious, and I just can’t wait for it to be over.  Once I get through them, my stress is going to lessen immensely and I think I’ll be incredibly relieved, even with dentist and doctor appointments, Theo’s first birthday, and our big move on the horizon.  I don’t think I’ve felt like this since I was in college and had finals week (and I think this is even worse!).  So wish me luck getting through today and tomorrow, and hopefully after that, I’ll get back the parts of my brain that right now are pretty much completely numbed with stress, and I can put together a proper blog post!

A Wilder Side of Breastfeeding

This week is National Breastfeeding Week.  Or something like that.  And I just thought I’d chime in with my small experience.

I’ve been nursing Theo for almost a year now.  I am neither proud nor not proud of that fact, but I am grateful and glad, because it’s saved us money, and been a lot more convenient (usually).  But about that special bond we’re supposed to have…

We don’t, really.

This week, you’ll probably see lots of photos of mothers tenderly looking down at tiny infants who are gazing back with buckets full of love.  That’s not exactly how it went for us.   For about the first month, I would wince, and sometimes almost writhe while breastfeeding.  It was painful.  In an effort to improve his latch, I watched youtube videos on breastfeeding.  The women would gently settle their baby on the pillow, pull out their breast, and bring the baby (who was lying peacefully with her mouth open, ready and waiting) to her nipple, and the baby would eat.

Now, I don’t know if their babies were exceptional, or if mine was, but Theo did not lie still, all ready to receive his mother’s bounty.  He kicked and flailed his arms about, and although his mouth was open wide, it was shaking from side to side so quickly that I kept missing, and trying to latch him on by his ear instead of his mouth.

What ended up helping was getting all set up with my pillows, taking the baby, and immediately pulling one of his arms under mine and pinning it to my side to keep him in place as the other arm sort of pinned his legs down so he wasn’t as wiggly, and I could maybe get him latched on.  And when he did look up at me, it looked more like he was giving me a suspicious side-eye than gazing lovingly at me.

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It definitely got easier, and nursing went smoothly until about 7 or 8 months when he 1) got stronger and 2) started self-weaning.  Andreas’s mom said that Andreas stopped nursing at 6 months, and I could tell that Theo was losing interest.  Theo is not a cuddler.  He had places to go and things to see, and he couldn’t do any of that while nursing (though, let me tell you, he tried…ouch.).  After a couple of weeks of struggling and fighting to get him to nurse, I dropped a few feedings, and started giving more solid foods (with the doctor’s encouragement).  We also cut out night feedings around this time, and Theo, with the extra real food in his belly, and no more waking out of habit at night- SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! Wahoo!

Now he’s down to nursing only in the morning and evening, which is incredibly freeing for me.  Not only am I happy about not having to wear nursing-friendly clothes all the time, and not having to worry about needing to be there for him at certain points throughout the day (Papa can do it, now!), but I am really happy that the wrestling sessions are reduced to twice daily.

The morning nursing is best, when he’s hungry and thirsty, and happy to see me.  But nighttime is still a struggle, and I have a feeling he’ll drop that before he’ll drop morning nursing.  He rolls away from me approximately ever 5 seconds, sits up, and crawls back,nurses for a few more seconds, rolls away, repeat.  It’s kind of exhausting.

I’m very thankful that I was able to breastfeed, and I’m not planning on stopping at any given point, but I’m happy that it’s only twice a day, and I don’t think I’ll be sad when it’s over.  I fed my baby, but for us, it wasn’t anything more than that.  And that’s okay.